LONG-TERM UPDATE 5 | Our Ford Mustang GT CS is mule and show pony

24 November 2023 - 10:25
By Thomas Falkiner
The Ignition TV team go to town shooting the GT CS at Zwartkops Raceway for an upcoming TV insert.
Image: Thomas Falkiner The Ignition TV team go to town shooting the GT CS at Zwartkops Raceway for an upcoming TV insert.

It's been a while since I wrote anything about my long-term Ford Mustang GT California Special because, well, I haven't been using it much. From test driving the Volvo C40 Recharge and borrowing my godfather's Hyundai H1 van (for 24 Hours of iLamuna duties) to enjoying the frugality of my recently acquired Mazda Miata, the big American pony car has spent most of November languishing in the Arena Holdings basement. 

There were, however, one or two occasions over this period where I needed to put the Mustang's load-carrying capabilities to the test. The first of these was schlepping a large fold-up gravity ladder and other bits and bobs to my flat in Illovo.

A rental unit that's lost half its value since I purchased it in 2015 (please feel free to email me directly for some more smart investing advice), I had a new tenant taking occupation and promised to treat the flat's interior to a lick of paint and a bit of a spruce up. 

With its high-volume ceilings, the painter requested the use of my ladder and the Mustang was the only vehicle I had at my disposal that could take it to him. Measuring 1,7 metres in length, I was sceptical about it fitting, but after folding flat the rear seat backs and sliding the front passenger seat forward I was able to Tetris it in without any issues. I still had space for a few tins of paint, a vacuum cleaner and some tools. 

Usually sporting vehicles such as the GT CS are about as practical as a papier-mâché umbrella, so I was impressed at how much equipment it could carry at a pinch. 

With its rear seat backs folded flat the GT CS can pack a useful amount of cargo. It's definitely not a one-trick pony.
Image: Thomas Falkiner With its rear seat backs folded flat the GT CS can pack a useful amount of cargo. It's definitely not a one-trick pony.

This load-lugging ability was again tested when I needed to drop off and collect four Mazda Miata wheels (complete with tall 185/60 R14 profile tyres) for refurbishment at an establishment on the East Rand. I was convinced I'd have to ask Sowetan motoring editor Brenwin Naidu to lend me his long-term Toyota Hilux, but again, after folding down the rear seat backs, I found there was more than enough space to make the mission. 

So if you need a performance vehicle that can hump a bit, the GT CS won't disappoint. 

What did disappoint, however, was being caught in the huge hail storm on November 13. Despite being parked under my shade-net carport, the poor Mustang fielded its fair share of marble-size hailstones that pounded our suburb for the best part of 20 minutes.

Fortunately, the damage was not as serious as I thought it might be. After a quick wash and wax the next morning I discovered three tiny dings on the bonnet plus one slightly larger one on the top of the right rear quarter panel. No paint was cracked and all of them should disappear with some Paintless Dent Removal (PDR). Still, it sucks to have this happen on my watch. Again, Ford South Africa, I'm really sorry. 

What should make up for this low-point, however, is an upcoming TV insert filmed at Zwartkops Raceway by the team at Ignition TV. What can only be described as a fitting send-off to one of the last special edition sixth-generation Mustang models launched in South Africa, it gave me an opportunity to dig into the Ford's ample performance aptitude away from the worry of other cars or metal-bending roadside furniture. I won't give too much away now for risk of scooping myself, but there was a fair share of tyre-smoking hooliganism captured on camera, which hopefully makes it into the final cut. 

Ignition TV confirmed it will be flighted early next year, so be sure to watch this space.

Moving forward, things promise to be a bit busier on the Mustang front with a big December road trip planned and with it a lot more to photograph and write about. I'm itching to get this machine onto the open road as that's where I feel it excels the most. And though America's historic Route 66 is out of the question, the Karoo's beautiful Route 62 is the next best thing and most certainly on the cards. Bring it on. 

2023 Ford Mustang GT California Special: Update 5





PRAISES: The GT CS is proving surprisingly practical for a performance coupé.

GRIPES: Minor hail damage is a real downer. Fuel consumption the worst it's ever been.